In the late summer of 2007, herbal my wife spotted a baby rabbit on our back steps. We hardly ever see rabbits in our yard (because of the feral cats which hang around there, mainly), and this little guy scampered off before Maura could check to see if he was all right.
“It sounds like an omen,” I responded when she told me about the incident.
A few days later, our neighbor called to us from across the street as we got home from work. She asked if one of our pet rabbits had escaped, as there was a fairly large, fairly docile white bunny grazing on her lawn. There was a moment of panic before we processed the rabbit wasn’t one of ours, then we retrieved a recycling bin from the porch in hopes of corralling the lost long-eared soul.
Maura first tried to lure him in with treats. That didn’t yield any productive results, so I reached over to where he was sitting, scruffed him, and put him in the bin. I’m still amazed it worked, to be honest.
“This is what his little cousin was trying to tell you the other night. ‘The Great One is coming.’”
We named him Magnus, because of his size and Maura’s teenage Magneto fandom. We assumed he was an escaped meat animal, but our vet informed us that he was at least a year old and maybe a couple more. He got set up with a sweet berth in our bunny room, with plenty of food, water, and opportunities to stretch his massive legs. Temperamentally, he was a most mellow sweetheart unlike the strong-willed Mini Rexes (and later crazy-flighty Lionheads) he shared space with.
The dude loved to eat, packing away as much hay, carrots, and greens as his neighbors combined. It wasn’t just mindless gluttony, either. Magnus truly savored his food, each bite vanishing in a dramatic flourish Maura dubbed his “victory chews.”
“Mags” (also “Magga-Bagga,” “Big Bunny,” “Magpie,” and “Magnopotomus”) was the rabbit I interacted with the most. He had the first shift when it came to the evening’s free roaming play, which meant I’d oversee it on nights where Maura was running late or had to go out somewhere. It took three or four painful bites on my hand before I figured out the golden rule of “Magnus gets his treat first and everyone else gets out of his way,” but he was generally an easy fellow to handle and rarely got into mischief.
He was such a fixture of our household that I never really considered how much time had passed since we found him. His joints may have grown stiffer and his loping gait slower, but he was still Big Ol’ Mags going about his usual routine. Until this morning when he quietly passed away.
So long, Big Guy. You will be much missed.